With One-Sided Facts on Social Networks, Citizens Are Offered To Be PRO Russian Aggression in Ukraine
Consciously or not, pro-Russian propaganda about the current Russian-Ukrainian conflict is indirectly spread on social networks by certain people and sites. By not presenting all the facts, the language of hatred towards Ukraine spreads with claims that Ukraine, during the years 1998/99, sent mercenaries to kill the Albanian people in Kosovo, supported the bombing of the Albanians in Macedonia in 2001 and opposed the independence of Kosovo, writes Portalb.mk. The transmission of such information is one-sided and does not represent the factual reality in order for the public to have room to assess the situation in Ukraine
Author: Shefkije Alasani
A photo has been shared on social media, mainly Facebook, showing a military plane bombing populated territory. The photo is accompanied by the following description:
“This is how Ukraine bombed the Albanians from Macedonia in 2001, where many pregnant women, mothers, children, the elderly were killed and many others were left disabled”.
Just hours after it was posted, the post was shared by dozens of other profiles and commented on by hundreds of others. The level of hatred caused by posts with incomplete information made by strangers, as well as the fact that the photos used are taken out of context, are worrying.
A search for the source of the photo in Google Images shows that the photo used in the above post was published by the Russian media to report on the conflict in North Macedonia in 2001, but it is not stated that the plane shown in the photo is a Ukrainian plane. Fact-checking data show that the photograph was taken in the village of Vaksince – Kumanovo, during the 2001 armed conflict in North Macedonia.
From the very beginning of the Russian aggression in Ukraine, on February 24, pro-Russian propaganda with one-sided facts has been widely spread on social networks and web portals in the Albanian language. Hundreds of photos have been shared on Facebook and Instagram listing some “facts” that tend to incite public hatred against Ukraine and the Ukrainian people.
The agreement was between the governments of Ukraine and Macedonia
It is true that during the armed conflict in 2001, Ukraine, along with Russia, was one of the main supporters of the Macedonian army. During the 2001 conflict, Ukraine trained Macedonian pilots in its academies, supported the air force, and provided training assistance to Macedonian police and Special Forces. Ukraine even offered assistance in servicing Macedonian military equipment and delivered at that time several helicopters, transport Mi-8 and Mi-17 and combat Mi-24, four SU-25 aircraft and other equipment for the ground army, after the Republic of Macedonia at that time paid them with the money from the sale of the Telecom and with the export of other goods. Under strong pressure from the United States and NATO, Ukraine agreed to “suspend” the delivery of military weapons to Macedonia during the NATO peacekeeping disarmament operation following the signing of the Ohrid Agreement.
In the spring of 2001, Macedonian police, parliament and government, involving Macedonian political parties (VMRO-DPMNE and LDP) and the Albanian Political Party (DPA), took up arms, including agreements with pro-Russian Ukraine at the time.
The Ukrainian people, who are now being bombed and suffering casualties, are not responsible for the agreements then made more than 20 years ago by the country’s leaders. There should be no resentment against civilians fleeing Russian aggression en masse.
Not showing solidarity with them puts everyone on the side of aggressor Vladimir Putin.
According to the President of the Assembly, Talat Xhaferi, the votes on which side the Albanians from North Macedonia should be “rearranged” in the war between Russia and Ukraine come from pro-Russian circles and he believes that this cannot be a parameter for assessing the determination of a state.
“Pro-Russian circles who want to justify the support they have, and in crisis situations the states are supplied everywhere, but that cannot be the parameter on which we should make the assessment. Our assessment is, either during the Renaissance or before the Renaissance and then, our orientation is pro-Western. You can take the historical context of Russian-Albanian relations from any angle, it has no support. Apart from interest and exploitation,” Xhaferi told ClickPlus on TV21, among other things.
Albanian leaders in RNM, Kosovo and Albania condemn Russian aggression
North Macedonia officially condemned the Russian aggression in Ukraine and became part of the EU sanctions against Russia. The Assembly of Kosovo even adopted a Resolution condemning Russian aggression in Ukraine. As for the rumors that Ukraine refuses to recognize Kosovo’s independence, the Ukrainian authorities claim that the non-recognition of Kosovo is only a consequence of the parallels that Russia draws between Kosovo and Crimea.
“The reason why Ukraine did not recognize Kosovo is obviously related to Russia, which is clearly manipulating without any political or legal basis, finding similarities between the illegal annexation of Crimea and the struggle of Kosovars for their future. But in our position we have never blocked any attempt by Kosovo to join international organizations. We even play football matches with Kosovo, and that is a sign, on our part, that this is not our special political position, it is just a way to not allow Russia to further manipulate this issue,” said the former Foreign Minister of Ukraine, Pavlo Klimkin, during an official visit to Tirana.
Meanwhile, a few days ago, MP Iryna Friz said it was time for Ukraine to recognize Kosovo’s statehood. In a Facebook post, Friz emphasizes that in these difficult times for her country, Kosovo is lining up against Ukraine’s friends.
Under what political circumstances did Ukraine function during 2001?
There are many important facts that, while claiming that Ukraine supported the “killing of Albanians”, are not presented to readers. One of the primary facts is the pro-Russian policy pursued by Ukrainian leaders elected and strongly supported by the Russian government at the time. These reports do not mention at all the essential element that there has been a drastic change in Ukrainian politics in 2001 and the current one.
During the conflict in Macedonia in 2001, the president of Ukraine was Leonid Danilovich Kuchma, whose leadership is known for a series of corruption scandals, censorship of freedom of speech and a collaborator of Russia. Kuchma signed a “Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership” with Russia and called Russian the “official language” of Ukraine. The publication of several wiretap conversations by Ukrainian opposition leader Oleksandr Moroz from 1998 to 2000 revealed the numerous crimes of former President Leonid Kuchma. In particular, his approval of the sale of radar systems to Saddam Hussein (along with other illegal arms sales).
After Leonid Kuchma, the politician Viktor Yushchenko came to head Ukraine. “Bandits will go to jail!” was the main motto of his presidential campaign, but after taking power he failed to meet the expectations of the Ukrainian people, who saw him as a saviour of Ukraine. Ukraine’s 2004 presidential election was quite tumultuous, with Viktor Yanukovych running for president. In fact, Yanukovych was the successor chosen by Leonid Kuchma himself, who in 2012 appointed Yanukovych as Ukraine’s prime minister, making it available to him to use the state apparatus and budget during the campaign. The Central Election Commission declared Viktor Yanukovych the winner, and this caused a great deal of revolt among the Ukrainian people who did not accept a result that was manipulated by the government.
At the end of November 2004, mass protests in support of Yushchenko began in Kyiv, later known as the “Orange Revolution.” Yushchenko won and was inaugurated as Ukraine’s third president on January 23, 2005. Viktor Yushchenko was president until 2010 and is remembered in history as a leader who did not fulfill his promises and continued the tradition of his predecessors to help enrich the current oligarchs and the emergence of new oligarchs, his closest people.
In 2010, Viktor Yanukovych, known to the public as a strong supporter of the policies of Russian President Vladimir Putin, became President of Ukraine. During Yanukovych’s tenure, Russia and Ukraine reached an agreement on the price of gas in exchange for extending the lease of the Russian navy in the Ukrainian Black Seaport. Transparency International named President Yanukovych an example of the highest level of corruption in the world. In 2013, Yanukovych’s government suspended trade and association talks with the EU and decided to revive economic ties with Moscow, sparking mass rallies in Kyiv for months. Protests aimed at ousting President Viktor Yanukovych escalated into violence, killing dozens of protesters.
Since 2014, the will of the people and the political orientation of Ukraine have changed direction
The wave of violent demonstrations in Ukraine was dubbed “Euromaidan” and led to the 2014 Ukrainian Revolution, known as the “Revolution of Dignity“. In February 2014, the Ukrainian parliament voted to oust Yanukovych, who fled to Moscow. According to Russian politician Oleg Mitvol, Yanukovych bought a house in Barvikha on February 26, 2014, for $ 52 million. In Ukraine, meanwhile, gunmen stormed parliament and took control of the Kremlin, hanging the Russian flag. Moscow annexed the territory of the Kremlin after the March 16 referendum. In April, pro-Russian separatists in the eastern Donbas region declared independence. Fighting erupts which, despite frequent ceasefires, continue sporadically until 2022.
Ukraine was on the brink of disaster in the weeks and months after Euromaidan. Russia, alarmed that Euromaidan would push Ukraine away from the Kremlin and bring it closer to the European Union, quickly annexed Crimea and sparked a separatist conflict in the Donbas region. Decades of corruption have left the Ukrainian military unfit to defend the country’s sovereignty. Meanwhile, the ousted leader of the Euromaidan movement, Viktor Yanukovych, fled to Russia, leaving behind an empty vault.
The next president of Ukraine was businessman Petro Poroshenko, who was inaugurated on June 5, 2014. During the election campaign, Poroshenko promised that things would change. While building his business empire, Poroshenko held political positions during the leadership of three of his four presidential predecessors. Poroshenko has faced accusations that he profited from being in power, or by making lucrative supply contracts, lobbying for his companies or using the justice system to his advantage and that of his partners.
On May 20, 2019, Volodymyr Zelensky was inaugurated as the sixth President of Ukraine, a new name in Ukrainian politics who has built his image and fortune as a comedian, actor and television character. Zelensky won the presidential election with promises to end corruption in his country and resolve the tense conflict in eastern Ukraine. The new leadership in Ukraine had the youngest president in its history (41 years old), the youngest parliament (average age of 41 years), the youngest prime minister (35 years old) and the youngest cabinet in Europe (average age of 39 years old). The new cabinet also quickly became known as the “most liberal” in Ukraine’s history, and government leaders promised 40 percent GDP growth over five years. The current president of Ukraine is known as a supporter of pro-Western and anti-Russian policies. More about the political leadership of Ukraine and Russia and their connections can be seen HERE.
Readers should be careful with the channels of information, journalists should report professionally
Crises have always been a source of power for propaganda machines. The essence of journalism is multifaceted, but the core consists of two things: facts and truth. If some information does not contain these two elements then we are dealing with a phenomenon called propaganda and the purpose of propaganda is to play with the feelings of public opinion and to impose a positive or negative opinion on a particular party. The choice of reliable sources of information is very important for public opinion, while for those who broadcast news it is important to first of all respect the principles of the Code of Ethics and be aware of the negative consequences of misinformation in society.
The Association of Journalists of Macedonia (AJM) and the Council for Media Ethics in Macedonia (CMEM), after the beginning of the war in Ukraine, called on the media to inform with maximum responsibility and professionalism, and not to contribute to spreading speculation and untruths in the public.